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Music: Death Grips

Formed in December of 2010, Death Grips was an Alternative Hip Hop group that consisted of rapper Stefan Burnett (a.k.a. MC Ride), drummer Zach Hill (of the band Hella), and producer Andy Morin (a.k.a. Flatlander). Their music was a unique blend of noise, samples, noise and industrial, loud vocals, noise, and subverting and deconstructing almost every Hip Hop trope under the sun, while their live shows are infamous for their sheer, nightmarish ferocity. On October 1st 2012, the band revealed that their next release had been pushed back by their record label. In response, the band released NO LOVE DEEP WEB for free. They released their most recent album, Government Plates, in a similar fashion. The band announced that they were breaking up in July 2014 via their Facebook page.

Their discography is as follows:

  • Death Grips (EP), 2011
  • Exmilitary (mixtape), 2011
  • The Money Store, 2012
  • NO LOVE DEEP WEB, expected to be released in 2013, leaked by the band on October 1st, 2012
  • Government Plates, 2013
  • The Powers That B, a double album expected to be released in the latter part of 2014
    • Niggas on the Moon, the first disc, released in June of 2014
    • Jenny Death, the second disc, as of yet unreleased


Death Grips' music contains the following tropes:

  • Axe Crazy: MC Ride in most songs.
  • Arc Number: Three and Thirteen
    • Government Plates appears to avert this though, as it is the first official release by them to not have thirteen tracks on it. Until you realize it was released 13 months, 13 days, and 13 hours after NO LOVE DEEP WEB.
    • So far it looks like Niggas On the Moon is a complete aversion, but with the album's second half still to come it's fully possible it will be rounded out.
  • All Drummers Are Animals: Zach Hill's playing has been known to break lug casings and bend the top hoop of his drums. He's fractured his own hand in a rehearsal once.
    • Rehearsal footage used in the video for "No Love" shows him headbutting his crash cymbal.
  • Angry Black Man: MC Ride, so much.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: The whole band seems to be this, based on interviews.
  • Badass Beard: Again, MC Ride.
  • Boastful Rap: Oh so many.
  • Careful With That Axe: MC Ride, all the time.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The whole band, or at least whoever's in charge of their internet presence.
  • Contemptible Cover: The Money Store, to the point of Memetic Mutation.
    • The cover for NO LOVE DEEP WEB takes this Up to Eleven.
      • For those who have a Bile Fascination, it's a picture of an erect penis in front of a bathroom wall.
  • Darker and Edgier: NO LOVE DEEP WEB (somehow) manages to be this despite the band already having some of the darkest output of any rap group.
  • Doing It for the Art: Their entire ethos.
  • Dream Team: Björk teamed up with them and contributed heavily to The Powers That B.
  • Drone of Dread: Frequiently used in the instrumentals, notably in "Guillotine" and much ofNO LOVE DEEP WEB.
  • Establishing Character Moment: "Full Moon (Death Classic)" was the first song they ever dropped, and it pretty much sums up what the internet was in for.
  • Everything Is an Instrument
  • Follow the Leader: They've already started what is essentially a new genre, or at least a new concept of combining noise and harsh noise with hip hop.
    • Lo and behold, people were quick to draw similarities to Death Grips in Kanye West's album Yeezus
  • Genre-Busting: Good luck finding anything remotely similar... Yet....
    • B L A C K I E, dälek and clipping. take similarly extreme and experimental approaches to hip-hop, but none sound quite the same—or quite like each other.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The music video for "Culture Shock" is a tiny distorted videoscreen superimposed over a headstone, looping repeatedly. It's hard to see, but the footage on the screen is from a pornographic sex scene.
  • Harsh Vocals: One of the very few rap examples.
  • Homage: the infamous cover of No Love Deep Web is both this and a Shout-Out to a Black Flag poster featuring a penis on it, right down to the angle of the . . . shaft.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: Nay nay, Ride, we don't know what you're sayin'.
  • Lennon Specs: Flatlander usually has these.
  • Long Title: "You might think he loves you for your money but I know what he really loves you for it's your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat"
  • Loudness War: Done on purpose, though not in a negative fashion. Exmilitary brings it to the point of Sensory Abuse.
    • Fortunately though, an unmastered version of The Money Store exists on the web and isn't hard to come by, and it avoids the brickwalling of the released versions. All the stems of Exmilitary also exist on the web, so it shouldn't be hard for anyone with the right programs to make their own master that isn't so abrasively loud.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: MC Ride, in spite of his manic, frenzied onstage performances and ferocious vocal style, is exceptionally quiet, withdrawn, and soft-spoken in person.
  • Mind Screw: A lot of their music videos and promotional work are heavily reminiscent of totheark's strange diatribes.
  • Minimalism: "Hunger Games" uses this to an unsettling effect.
  • Motive Rant: "Beware" can be considered one, as Ride lays bare his incredibly individualistic and nihilistic philosophy in it.
  • Murder Ballad: Takyon, which appears to be about a gunfight. Guillotine mixes Boastful Rap and this.
  • New Sound Album: While they still fall under the umbrella of industrial hip-hop, each of their albums is this compared to the previous one. Exmilitary was a lot more hook- and beat-driven than their debut. The Money Store was considerably more electronic and less sample-based than Exmilitary, and NO LOVE DEEP WEB eschews catchy hooks in general in exchange for a deeper focus on atmosphere. Government Plates took this to a new level, with a much larger emphasis on experimental electronic production and much less rapping from MC Ride. And then Ride returned in a big way for Niggas on the Moon, which in general features more frenetic production, cleaner, quieter, yet far more absurd verses from Ride, and samples from Björk on every track.
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • The video for "Come Up And Get Me" features roughly nine minutes of silence at the beginning set to black & white footage of MC Ride going crazy.
    • The instrumental for "Hunger Games" uses this.
    • Flatlander's website, ever since he's been missing, usually consists of a single cryptic phrase or image at a time, occasionally with hidden images in the code or whatever the ARG calls for.
    • The video for "Death Yon" has a masked individual cautiously exploring an abandoned office.
  • Obligatory Bondage Song: Parts of "No Love" and "Spread Eagle Cross The Block".
  • Odd Friendship: With Robert Pattinson. He's been photographed hanging out with Ride on several occasions and is apparently a huge fan.
  • Performance Video: "Lock Your Doors" is their, uh... interpretation of one.....
  • Perpetual Frowner: Ride. He's subverted this on one occasion in the video for "You might think he loves you for your money but I know what he really loves you for it's your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat" and boy it's creepy as hell
  • Rock Me, Asmodeus!: MC Ride has a tattoo of a pentagram.
  • Sampling: From Nancy Sinatra to Black Flag to Link Wray to Arthur Brown's "Fire" to voice clips of Charles Manson. "System Blower" even sampled its distinctive bridge from a Venus Williams tennis serve, and the bass from "Hustle Bones" is a motorcycle engine, pitched down and otherwise modulated.
  • Scary Black Man: MC Ride, and how.
  • Sensory Abuse: Sometimes, mostly on Exmilitary, which is probably the loudest of their releases. The odd, screechy synth section towards the end of "Guillotine" stands out. Most of their videos have intentional glitches and spaced-out effects, such as visual static.
  • Shout-Out: The song title "You might think he loves you for your money but I know what he really loves you for it's your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat" is of course a Bob Dylan lyric.
  • Singing Voice Dissonance: Though he's not exactly singing, MC Ride's speaking voice sounds like a completely different person.
  • Something Completely Different: The song "Birds" is weird, even for their standards. Partially because it's probably the least abrasive song they've ever made.
  • Soprano and Gravel: On the track "Lord Of The Game", featuring Mexican Girl.
  • Stoic Spectacles: Flatlander
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: For a given value of "gentle"; "Culture Shock" and "Get Got" are fairly chill and closer to traditional hip-hop than the rest of their output.
    • At the end of "NO LOVE DEEP WEB" comes "Artificial Death in the West", a very spacious and chilled out song after the twelve tracks of madness.
    • "Birds"
  • Stylistic Suck: Their songs are intentionally brickwalled and compressed to a brutal degree, and their videos are about as close to a live-action Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff as you can get.
    • This applies to the visuals for Government Plates. A music video was made for each song, and most of them include rotating 3D art looping over and over on a black background.
  • Take That: In "Hacker":
  • Three Chords and the Truth: NO LOVE DEEP WEB is kind of like their version of this. The majority of the sounds are produced from basic synthesizers and 808 drums, and the only sample is on "Whammy". Hill's live drums are nowhere to be found.
  • Trope Codifier: Industrial Rap. While groups like The Disposible Heroes of Hiphoprisy had been combining industrial elements with rap and hip-hop since as far back as the late 1980s, Death Grips' sound has come to define the style since their inception.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: In their farewell note, a portion of it read: "Death Grips was and always has been a conceptual art exhibition anchored by sound and vision. above and beyond a "band"."
  • Uncommon Time: "Death Grips (Next Grips)" and "Spread Eagle Across The Block".
    • "Hunger Games" is a subversion. It's in 4/4 time, but the rhythm is... uh.... batshit insane...
    • Death Grips don't generally use a lot of strange time signatures, but they do use extensive syncopation and other strange musical features.
      • The main riff of 'Come up and get me' gets insanely syncopated around the middle before abruptly coming back at the end.
      • 'Full Moon (Death Classic)' is crazily offbeat, having some parts where Ride ignores the rhythm entirely (i.e. the 'buck buck buck buck' bit).
      • The first verse and last hook of 'You might think he loves you for your money but I know what he really loves you for it's your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat' both seem to kind of ignore the rhythm behind them. (Additionally, it's in 6/8.)
      • The notes that the guitar plays in the verses and choruses in 'Birds' are of incredibly uneven and unnatural lengths. Same with the synths in the second section of 'Bootleg (Don't Need Your Help)'.
      • Ride's sampled vocals on 'Whatever I Want (Fuck Who's Watching)' are weirdly syncopated.
      • 'Anne Bonny', 'Two Heavens', 'Feels Like A Wheel', 'Big House', and 'Bootleg (Don't Need Your Help)' all include abrupt tempo changes at some point in their duration.
  • Vulgar Humor: The leaked version of NO LOVE DEEP WEB features cover art that is nothing more than a photograph of a penis. An alternate cover, released a few days later, is a picture of socks with "SUCK MY DICK" embroided on.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Andy Morin was missing from October 2012 until SXSW 2013, and it has yet to be addressed or explained.
  • Word Salad Lyrics:
    Deep Web: I'M THE COAT HANGER IN YOUR MAN'S VAGINA!!!
CandiriaPunk RapHed PE
Kat DeLunaCreator/Epic RecordsCéline Dion
Dayton FamilyMusicians/Hip Hop RapDel Tha Funkee Homosapien
DessaAlternative Hip HopDiafrix

alternative title(s): Death Grips
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